Feel The Love!

You’ve heard the old adage, “if it weren’t for customers, running a business would be a lot of fun”. While this line brings a smirk to our face, it really is the wrong attitude to take if you want your customers to bring you more business. Businesses who truly have a dislike for their customers, no doubt also have a large turn over of customers. If you are in the professional industry like myself, you have to take an active interest in your customer’s businesses. You can’t just take their money and then forget about them. I regularly have customers calling me to share compliments they receive, or successes they enjoy from something we are working on. We share jokes, ribbing and leads. Referrals go both ways. A client informed me today that they printed out my Reluctant Salesperson eBook and gave it to a friend of theirs to assist them in their desire to better their sales technique. They also referred this person to me for new business. I take it as a supreme compliment if they call me and just want to chat about an idea they have and want to bounce it off of me. Try a few of these suggestions and “feel the love”:

(1) Always deliver your best quality. Sounds like silly advice, but even you’ve seen the crap some businesses pawn off on people. Even in a rush, poor quality is no excuse and is a bad reflection on your brand. It is very hard to crawl back from. My crowd always state that “you’re only as good as your worst effort”.

(2) Watch out for your customers (in a good way). One of my clients distributes washroom, restaurant and janitorial supplies. I routinely ask new contacts where they get their supplies from and pass on the contact name. Make yourself aware of the type of customer your customers are looking for. Wouldn’t it be great to land them a juicy lead?

3) Even if the person isn’t a customer yet, you can really show your class by sending them information you tripped across. I just did this today, to a lead I met at a networking event I attended last night. We were discussing a Deloitte report on emerging media. This afternoon, I located the report online and forwarded it to him. You have to prove that you give a damn.

(4) If you have a blog, write about your customers and link to them. Brag about their tenacity and describe how they are defeating the economy. Tell their good news story. Spread the love.

(5) For relaxation I paint in watercolor. I regularly invite my clients to the annual exhibits at my home. They enjoy seeing the other side of me and often break bread with old friends visiting as well. Some of my dearest friends started as clients. There doesn’t have to be barriers. After all, if your relationship is a healthy one – your success is mutual, and you both have a good understanding of that.

(6) When distance allows, give your customer as much face-time as possible. I can’t tell you how many times I delivered a hard copy of a file (rather than email it) and walked away with additional projects, just because I was there. One particular day I had three meetings scheduled and all returned additional projects I was unaware of going in.

(7) Here’s another seemingly no-brainer: be honest. Running a business can be confusing at times, and everyone knows it. Show your human side and own up to any problems. More times than not, customers don’t want you to suffer un-neccesarily (when they love you). Sometimes you have to suck it up. Don’t try to wiggle out of penny issues that end up costing you large in lost business and trust. No one likes to feel they’re being screwed. I once had a supplier who billed me four times his quote. He refused to honor his quote and insisted I pay. I did pay, but I can tell you he lost many times that, with the loss of my business. I was flabbergasted at what he was prepared to lose, to get that one invoice covered – fool. It is amazing how little some businesses are willing to sacrifice their brands for short-term gain.

(8) If you can, buy from your customers and don’t try to get a discount – let them offer. I try my best to support them whenever possible.

(9) Engage your customer’s staff. Treat them with the respect you’d enjoy in return. We’re all just trying to earn a living. Your customers love that you get along with everyone. This past Christmas my wife made a batch of home-made cookies that I personally delivered to support staff at clients where distance wasn’t an issue. It makes a great impression, especially the home-made part. A few emailed later to personally thank us and request recipes.

(10) Offer assistance with customer’s interests and charities. Some times they’re shy to ask. This also gives you a genuine opportunity to give back to your community. Everybody wins.

As you can imagine, these suggestions are a testament to your personal brand. If they are a part of how you do business, stresses are reduced and mutual respect is the reward no matter what the economy. Kiss

Ed Roach

For more than 30 years, I have worked with hundreds of successful small businesses by helping them develop unique brand positioning strategies that differentiates them from their competition. I appreciate working with companies who see the value of going beyond mere slogans and have a desire to sell from compelling positions. I consult predominantly with businesses facilitating my proprietary branding process. This branding process effectively focuses a company's brand delivering a positioning strategy that can be taken to their marketplace.

I have international speaking experience and am the author of "101 Branding Tips," Practical advice for your brand that you can use today. I'm also a "expert panellist" with Bob Proctor (from The Secret)'s Matrixx Events in Toronto.

I have been interviewed in all media and I also blog extensively and uses the digital realm on the web to connect and promote my services world-wide.

I have international speaking experience including a recent event in Prague, in the Czech Republic and is the author of "101 Branding Tips," Practical advice for your brand that you can use today, the book is available on Amazon.com and the Amazon Kindle store.

My clients are from Canada, The United States, Ukraine, India, United Arab Emirates and Tanzania.

I recently facilitated a workshop in San Diego aimed at teaching Graphic Design companies how to build brands for their customers.

Comments

  1. hi Ed,
    Actually, I’d never heard the saying, ““If it weren’t for customers, running a business would be a lot of fun”. I’m still laughing..
    All your points are excellent. I would just add this, “Happy customers are your best (free) sales people.”
    Great post as always. ~ Steve
    PS. I don’t know why, but those lips remind me of Rocky Horror…

  2. …you’ve got issues Steve.

  3. Great post as always Ed, and this works in the online biz world as well, as in networking with other bloggers.
    JR

  4. Thanks JR. Networking with other bloggers is definitely great for business. Looking out for your contacts is always good.

  5. These are some great tips you got here. I agree 100% that customers should be treated not just as a source of money, but also people who you are actually helping with your business and people who can bring you even more business if you’re treat them well.

  6. BCM, I’m glad that you agree that is is the two way street that is the mutual attraction. Referrals all around.

  7. Excellent post, Ed. Before when I was in a business of dealing with customers all the time, I took great pride in taking care of each of them. Unfortunately, many people forget that it’s a RELATIONSHIP – and put no effort or care into dealing with their customers. If only more businesses adhered by these standards…

  8. I view myself and my customers as a team. We are after the same goals. As small businesses, we experience the same challenges and it’s great to learn from each other. I notice how during hard times, some companies pretend to give a damn, but the truth is “too little too late”. They’re not fooling anyone. We all know when someone is faking it.

    I’m currently in the middle of a customer survey and I’m liking what I reading. It validates my opinion on customer service being paramount.

  9. Great post Ed I think this would work great with social networking and conneting with other bloggers. Anyways good information keep it coming.

  10. Janilink – thanks for your support.